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LIBOR Rates (Blog or Resources)

LIBOR: What It Means for Student Loans

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By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

If you decide to refinance your student loans, you’re likely looking for the lowest interest rate possible. If you want to pay off your debt aggressively, you may get a lower rate by opting for a variable rate loan rather than a fixed-rate loan.

 

While a variable rate loan may be a smart choice, it’s important to understand how lenders determine your interest rate and what factors may influence it, such as the LIBOR rate.

 

Continue reading to learn more about the LIBOR rate and how it affects your student loan repayment.

 

What is LIBOR?

To understand LIBOR, you must first understand Eurodollars. Eurodollars are bank deposit liabilities — written as U.S. dollars — that don’t fall under U.S. banking regulations. Banks that offer Eurodollars are usually located outside of the United States, and play a big role in the financial industry.

 

The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is a money market interest rate that is considered to be the standard in the interbank Eurodollar market. It’s a market for banks and financial institutions, rather than individuals. The LIBOR rate is the rate at which international banks are willing to offer Eurodollar deposits to one another.

 

That all may sound very complex and confusing, and you may be wondering why it matters to you. But the LIBOR rate can affect you directly. Many adjustable-rate loans and lines of credit, such as mortgages, credit cards, and student loans, base their interest rates on the LIBOR rate

 

How LIBOR affects your variable rate loans

When you apply for a loan, you can often choose between a fixed-rate loan and a variable rate loan. A fixed-rate loan has the same interest rate for the length of your repayment. It never changes, no matter what the market does. By contrast, variable rate loans usually have lower rates than fixed-rate loans for the same term at first. However, they can fluctuate over time to coincide with market changes.

 

If you have variable rate student loans, changes to the LIBOR impact the interest rate you’ll pay on the loan throughout your repayment.

 

Private student loans, including refinancing loans, have interest rates that are tied to an index, such as LIBOR. But that’s not the rate you’ll pay. The lender also adds a margin that is based on your credit; the better your credit, the lower the margin.

 

Your annual percentage rate, or APR, is a way of measuring the full cost a lender charges you per year for funds, and is expressed as a percentage. Your APR can be determined by adding the LIBOR rate to the margin, and including the cost of other fees and charges (if any exist) averaged over the term of the loan. If the LIBOR rate increases, the interest rate on your student loan will increase as well.

 

LIBOR Rate + Margin = Your Interest Rate

There are different maturities for LIBOR, including overnight, one week, one month, two months, three months, six months, and twelve months. Some student loan companies, including ELFI, adjust their interest rates every quarter based on the three-month LIBOR rate, while others adjust rates monthly as their loans are tied to the one-month LIBOR.

 

The LIBOR rate can fluctuate a great deal. However, most private student loan companies have caps on the interest rate, meaning your interest rate will never exceed that amount, no matter how high the LIBOR rate becomes.

 

Current LIBOR rates

As of Friday, November 22, 2019 — the last available data — the LIBOR rate is 1.917%. If the lender sets their margin at 3%, your new rate would be 4.917% (1.917% + 3.00%=4.917%).

 

The current LIBOR rate is significantly lower than it was at the beginning of 2019. On January 2, 2019, the LIBOR rate was 2.79%.

 

LIBOR rate trends

The LIBOR rate rises and falls along with market changes. Over the past 10 years, the three-month LIBOR rate has generally increased.

 

On December 2, 2009, the LIBOR rate was just 0.255%. As of November 22, 2019, the rate was 1.917%. If you had a variable rate loan during that time, that change means your rate would have risen by 1.662%.

 

The chart above displays fluctuations to the 3-month LIBOR based on the U.S. dollar from 2010-2019.

 

Future of LIBOR

LIBOR has been the gold standard that lenders have used for years to determine their rates. However, LIBOR is slowly being phased out and will be replaced with a new index.

 

LIBOR is based on transactions that aren’t as common as they used to be, so the index is considered to be less reliable than it once was. LIBOR is expected to be discontinued sometime after 2021.

 

How will that affect interest rates? The Federal Reserve has convened a committee to facilitate the transition and has recommended a new index to replace LIBOR. Lenders will likely replace LIBOR with the recommended index, or with the U.S. Prime Rate. Be sure to check your student loan documents (typically your Application & Credit Agreement) to better understand the terms of replacing the LIBOR index with a replacement index if you have a variable rate loan.

 

Managing your debt

If you’re planning on refinancing your student loans and are trying to decide between a fixed-rate loan and a variable rate loan, learning about the LIBOR rate can help you make an informed choice. If you want to see how much money you can save with refinancing and what interest rate you can qualify for, use ELFI’s Find My Rate tool to get a quote.*

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. Variable rates may increase after closing.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Private Student Loans vs. Government Student Loans: What’s the Difference?

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If you are looking forward to going to college and you know you need financial help, you may not give much thought to whether you should take out private student loans or federal student loans. Either way, you will end up with debt, right? The truth is, deciding between private and federal government student loans is not as simple as comparing apples to apples. Your financial future could be affected by your understanding of how these loans differ.

 

Government Student Loans

Federal loans for students are made by the Federal Government’s Department of Education. When you apply for this type of loan, you must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The information on this form will be used to determine i) how much federal student aid and what types of federal loans you qualify for and ii) your family’s contribution toward the cost of your education. 

 

Private Student Loans

Any loans that are not issued by the federal government are defined as private student loans. Private loans are made by various types of lenders, including banks, credit unions, and lenders that specialize in loans to students. If you don’t meet the criteria set by the lender, you can still get a private loan, but you will need a co-signer who meets the lender’s requirements. In the event that you miss payments or default on the loan, your co-signer will be responsible for your debt.

 

The Difference in Interest Rates

  • Government Student Loans – Interest rates on federal loans do not depend on financial factors such as your or your co-signer’s credit rating and are therefore the same for each borrower. Also, the rate on newly originated Federal Direct Loans does not change throughout the repayment period. Currently, interest rates on federal student loans are based on the 10-year Treasury Note plus a fixed percentage increase depending on the loan type, with a cap set depending on the loan type. For example, direct undergraduate loans are based on the 10-year Treasury Note + 2.05% and are capped at 9.50%, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Student loan rates are set in the spring for each new school year, and they are effective from July 1 to June 30 of the following year. 

 

  • Private Student Loans – Interest rates on these loans are set by the lenders and are based on various underwriting criteria including the credit history of you or your co-signer. This means that you may be able to qualify for private student loan interest rates that are lower than government loan interest rates. Additionally, you could be offered a private loan with a variable interest rate rather than a fixed interest rate. Although a variable rate means your rate may go up when you are repaying your loan, the rate could still beat what you would be paying if you had federal loans.

 

The Difference in Repayment Terms

  • Government Student Loans – The repayment terms for federal student loans depend on whether they are subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are ideal because the federal government will cover the interest while you are finishing school or in deferment, whereas unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest as soon as they are taken out. Federal student loans also offer options of deferment and forbearance as well as income-driven repayment plans, making these types of loans slightly more accommodating if you may have trouble paying your student loans.   

 

  • Private Student Loans – Private student loans come with different repayment plans depending on the lender. A private student loan from ELFI gives you a choice of several attractive repayment options including deferring repayment until six months after graduation. With terms ranging from 5-15 years, you can choose between having lower monthly payments or paying off your loans quicker.*

 

The Difference in How Much You Can Borrow

  • Government Student Loans – The government sets a cap on how much you are allowed to borrow both for each year of college and cumulatively.

 

  • Private Student Loans – At ELFI, we encourage all individuals to explore all scholarship and grant options available. We always advise potential students to go after the “free money” first, as there are thousands of scholarships and grants you can take advantage of each year.

    After taking advantage of scholarships and grants, the full cost of your education may not be entirely covered. The next step is to look into Private Student Loan options to cover the remaining amount you need for your education expenses. If you have reached your limit with respect to federal loans, you can also make up the difference with private loans. Private student loans from ELFI can help to bridge the gap.*

 

Choosing Between Government Student Loans and Private Student Loans

It’s important that you consider all of the differences when deciding which types of loans are best for you. If you need assistance in working through your options, contact ELFI. We have years of experience devoted to helping students realize their college dreams, so don’t wait – give us a call today.*

 


*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites

Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

5 Common Questions About Student Loan Refinancing

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Deciding to refinance your student loans is a big step in your financial journey. As with any big step, there are often questions that arise. We’re sharing some of the most common questions our Personal Loan Advisors hear from borrowers looking to refinance their student loans. 

1. Will my refinanced student loan have a variable or fixed interest rate?

Either! Education Loan Finance offers both fixed and variable interest rates, giving you the freedom to choose.  Fixed interest rates will not change from year to year, but variable interest rates will fluctuate based on the LIBOR index and may increase or decrease over the life of the loan. Read our blog about variable and fixed interest rates to learn more.  

2. How long will the application process take?

You’ll be done before you know it! The application process is quick and easy. After providing some information about yourself and your student loans, you’ll upload documents and submit the application. If you refinance your student loans with ELFI, you’ll receive a Personal Loan Advisor who will be your point of contact throughout the process – one person who’ll be with you step-by-step.

3. Can I consolidate both federal and private student loans?

Yes! ELFI allows you to consolidate federal student loans as well as private student loans from multiple lenders. As long as they are student loans, ELFI can consolidate them. However, only student loan debt can be consolidated – no other consumer debt, such as credit card, auto, or mortgage can be included, even if it was used to pay education expenses. 

4. Can I consolidate my student loans with my spouse’s student loans?

While spouses are eligible to serve as a cosigner on an application, we cannot consolidate student loan debt among multiple borrowers – even if they are hitched! 

5. Will the application process affect my credit score?

We’ll run a “soft credit inquiry” during the pre-qualification phase of refinancing in order to provide you with preliminary rates that you may qualify for. A Soft credit inquiry won’t affect your credit score. However, once you choose your loan product and submit your application, we’ll need to view your full credit report – this will show up as a hard credit inquiry. These inquiries are common among student loan refinancing lenders.

 

Hopefully this short Q&A gave you some helpful insight about what to expect when refinancing your student loans. If you have questions about the student loan refinancing process, you can check out our full list of frequently asked questions or contact ELFI at 1-844-601-3534 to speak with a Personal Loan Advisor. 

 

Learn More About Student Loan Refinancing

 

 

Subject to credit approval. Terms & Conditions apply.

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites
Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

LIBOR Rates, Historical LIBOR Rates, and Variable Rate Loans

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Variable rate loans have interest rates that vary and are based on a financial market index that changes over time. One very well-known financial market index that many variable rate loans are based upon is the London Interbank Offer Rate, or LIBOR. Understanding this financial index and how it is determined is important when evaluating variable rate loan products.

What are LIBOR Rates?

LIBOR is a benchmark rate that banks charge each other to borrow money. More important to borrowers, however, is that this rate is the first step involved in calculating short-term interest rates on a variety of loans — like student loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc. LIBOR is determined daily and is based on rates that a reference panel of banks can borrow from other banks on the London market for each calculated currency, including the U.S. dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), pound sterling (GBP), Japanese yen (JPY), and Swiss franc (CHF).

 

You may have noticed that the definition of LIBOR is included when calculating rates for variable rate loans. LIBOR’s seven available maturities and associated rates are: overnight, one week, and 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 months. These maturity figures state the cyclical duration for which the variable interest rate can change on your loan. For instance, the interest rate on a one-week term can change weekly, and the 3-month term can change every 3 months (or quarterly). Because these cyclical changes may change your loan’s interest rate, it is important to note that your monthly payment and the total expected interest owed over the life of the loan may change as well.

 

To see which maturity is associated with your variable rate loan, look for the timeframe before the word LIBOR found on your promissory note. You can also read the loan agreement to understand how often the interest rate is subject to adjustment and understand how to identify the correct index amount.  For example, Education Loan Finance’s variable rate loans are subject to adjustment quarterly based upon the 3-month LIBOR, while other lenders may adjust rates more frequently by basing rates upon the 1-month LIBOR.

LIBOR Changes and Your Interest Rate

While variable rate loans, whether refinanced or not, tend to have starting rates that are often lower than fixed loan rates for the same maturity date, these variable rates can change after you close on your loan — including the possibility to increase over the life of your loan. Changes in LIBOR result in changes to your variable rate loan’s interest rate.

 

Here is how it works: If the 3-month LIBOR is 0.4 percent and Education Loan Finance’s (or your lending institution’s) margin is 3 percent, then your monthly rate would be 3.40 percent for those three months. However, if the 3-month LIBOR changes to 1 percent in the next quarter (remember, this scenario is working on a 3-month cyclical change), then your monthly rate would increase to 4 percent for those next three months.

 

If the LIBOR increases dramatically to a rate such as 15 percent, Education Loan Finance actually puts a 9.95 percent interest rate cap on the interest rate that you will be charged for 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20-year variable rate loan terms. This means that no matter how high the LIBOR rate increases, you will never pay more than 9.95 percent interest on the aforementioned variable rate loans if you choose a variable rate loan and refinance your student loan with Education Loan Finance.

 

What are Historical LIBOR Rates?

Historical LIBOR shows borrowers and consumers the variability in rates over the years. These historical data provide insight into the magnitude of LIBOR rate changes in the past.

 

Historical LIBOR rates can be reviewed and downloaded here. Simply change the frequency to the desired maturity and make sure the date range is accurate. Scroll down and select ‘download data’ to view the rates for your selected time period. Another option is to view multiple maturities at one time, over thirty years, on this scrolling chart. Whichever you choose, please note that these links are provided for historical purposes only. You should always refer to the terms of your promissory note for details  — like date, source, time period — on how the rate for your loan will be determined.

 

Like many lending or refinancing institutions, Education Loan Finance’s variable rate loans are tied to 3-month LIBOR rates, which means they are subject to change based on this publicly available index. The big takeaway is that while there are no guarantees with variable rates, they do tend to start at lower rates than rates on fixed-rate loans with the same term. If you decide to initially refinance your student loan debt with a variable rate loan product, just remember that if rates begin to increase, you can refinance again in the future with a fixed rate loan from Education Loan Finance at no cost to you.

 

Top Tips for Finding the Perfect Lender to Refinance Student Loans